In one emphatic finish, NaVorro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and the San Francisco 49ers sealed their postseason berth in a celebratory regular-season finale at Candlestick Park.
Bowman returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown with 1 minute, 10 seconds remaining, and the 49ers clinched a playoff berth with a wild 34-24 victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night that likely was the final game at San Francisco's longtime home.
Tramaine Brock broke up a pass intended for Harry Douglas and Bowman got his hands on the ball and took off. He was joined in the end zone by his teammates for a jubilant dog pile.
"I always say a lot of plays are made when you run to the ball," Bowman said. "That's all I was doing was just running to the ball, trying to make a tackle, and it popped up and I was able to make a play for my team."
Matt Ryan threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White with 8:42 remaining and a 2-yard score to Tony Gonzalez with 2:09 left as the Falcons (4-11) made things interesting until the end.
Atlanta's Jason Snelling recovered the ensuing onside kick as the Falcons got the ball back and were driving for a go-ahead score when San Francisco (11-4) capitalized with one of its biggest takeaways yet.
The 49ers still have a slim chance at winning a third consecutive NFC West crown if St. Louis wins at Seattle and they beat Arizona on the road.